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Plant Adaptations in Water

underwater leaves and stems are flexible to move with water currents
some plants have air spaces in their stems to help hold the plant up in the water
submerged plants lack strong water transport system (in stems); instead water, nutrients,
and dissolved gases are absorbed through the leaves directly from the water.
roots and root hairs reduced or absent; roots only needed for anchorage, not for
absorption of nutrients and water
some plants have leaves that float atop the water, exposing themselves to the sunlight
in floating plants chlorophyll is restricted to upper surface of leaves (part that the sunlight
will hit) and the upper surface is waxy to repel water
Some plants produce seeds that can float




In floating plants,
chlorophyll is restricted
to the upper surface.
Note the green color on
the top of the leaves and
the reddish underside of
the overturned leaf.
Aquatic plants must be flexible to
withstand the pressures of
moving water.
Disclaimer/Credits Copyright 2009 Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri botanical Gardens Biology of Plants: Plant Adaptations in water
(2009)http://www.mbgnet.net/bioplants/inwater.html 25 March 25, 2013




http://www.mbgnet.net/bioplants/troprf.html

The Tropical Rainforest
The tropical rainforest is hot and it rains a lot, about 80 to 180 inches per year. This abundance
of water can cause problems such as promoting the growth of bacteria and fungi which could be
harmful to plants. Heavy rainfall also increases the risk of flooding, soil erosion, and rapid
leaching of nutrients from the soil (leaching occurs when the minerals and organic nutrients of
the soil are "washed" out of the soil by rainfall as the water soaks into the ground). Plants grow
rapidly and quickly use up any organic material left from decomposing plants and animals. This
results is a soil that is poor. The tropical rainforest is very thick, and not much sunlight is able to
penetrate to the forest floor. However, the plants at the top of the rainforest in the canopy, must
be able to survive 12 hours of intense sunlight every day of the year. There is a great amount of
diversity in plant species in the tropical rainforest.
Tropical Rainforest Plant Adaptations
drip tips and waxy surfaces allow water to run off, to discourage growth of bacteria and
fungi
buttresses and prop and stilt roots help hold up plants in the shallow soil
some plants climb on others to reach the sunlight
some plants grow on other plants to reach the sunlight
flowers on the forest floor are designed to lure animal pollinators since there is relatively
no wind on the forest floor to aid in pollination
smooth bark and smooth or waxy flowers speed the run off of water
plants have shallow roots to help capture nutrients from the top level of soil.
many bromeliads are epiphytes (plants that live on other plants); instead of collecting
water with roots they collect rainwater into a central reservoir from which they absorb the
water through hairs on their leaves
epiphytic orchids have aerial roots that cling to the host plant, absorb minerals, and
absorb water from the atmosphere





Drip-tips on leaves help
shed excess water.
Prop roots help support
plants in the shallow
soil.
Some plants collect
rainwater into a central
reservoir.
Disclaimer/Credits Copyright 2009 Missouri Botanical Garden





Missouri botanical Gardens Rain forest plants world wide (2002)
http://www.mbgnet.net/sets/rforest/plants/world.htm

World-Wide
Bamboo
Bambusa spp.
Phyllostachys spp.
Grass Family
Bamboo is the world's largest grass and is
native to many parts of the world. It is grown
throughout the tropics and is used as a source
of food as well as for construction and weaving.
It has great strength and is used in Japan as
scaffolding for building skyscrapers.

Disclaimer Copyright 2002 Missouri Botanical Garden



Missouri botanical Gardens Rain forest plants: Plant adaptations
(2002)http://www.mbgnet.net/sets/rforest/plants/adapt.htm

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